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Larger multinationals are bolstering their in-house recruitment teams, in a clear sign that they are gearing up to increase headcount in the year ahead, according to the Sunday Business Post.
There has been a definite trend toward hiring in-house recruiters among the multinationals in recent months, particularly in the technology sector, according to Karen O'Flaherty, Morgan McKinley's chief operations officer.
"The positive that we would take from that is that, obviously, these multinationals are increasing their head count internally," said O'Flaherty. "If you are employing someone as an in-house recruiter, it means that you are committing to increasing your head count to a particular volume because you don't bring someone in in-house for anything less than 10 to 20 positions.
"What is being factored into that is longer-range forecasting, with projects being signed off on and more commitment around headcount for future pipelining over a year or two years. That commitment is the first time in probably two or three years that we have seen an improvement."
O'Flaherty said these roles were typically split evenly between permanent and part-time or contract positions.
Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor revealed a 14% increase in professional job vacancies in the Irish market for the first three months of the year, compared to the last quarter of 2012.
On a year-to-year basis, however, there was no change in the number of job vacancies posted from January to March, compared to the same period in 2012.
Despite this, O'Flaherty is optimistic. "There are positive indicators already in the last three or four months, including the internal recruitment teams and that is probably the first time in three or four years that we have seen an upsurge to that level across a number of different sectors," she said.
Hiring for in-house recruitment roles was one of the first casualties of the downturn, with companies slashing budgets in this area almost immediately and stagnation continuing throughout the last three to four years, according to Mairead Fleming, managing director of Brightwater Recruitment.
"In-house recruitment is probably at 30 to 40 per cent higher than it was at the same time last year. It was one of the areas that dropped off completely in the downturn," said Fleming.
"There may have been more generalist roles, but for in-house recruiters, there were very few roles whereas now that has completely turned around. They are now looking for people with very strong recruitment backgrounds. It can be difficult enough to find good calibre candidates as well, because firms were not hiring."
Fleming said recruitment in the area was busy. "Anecdotally, we are being told that people are lifting their heads up again," she said. "We are also seeing it in the volumes of roles that we are taking on. Certainly, there is an increase in the number of new roles coming on-stream and that is good, but then people are moving again so attrition rates are beginning to rise."
The fact that many of the companies recruiting staff are doing so on contract, rather than a permanent basis, suggests they are adopting a cautious, softly-softly approach, Fleming said.
"It is a good sign that they have a need, but perhaps they are still not out of the woods yet, so they are not committing to bringing in a permanent person to do that role," he said.
"It is a busy area, though. Very often, a lot of those contract roles have converted into permanent positions, but they are not making the commitment at the outset. If attrition rates increase or something else happens within the business that necessitates hiring, they have a person in situ.'